Friday, November 23, 2012

A Spirited conversation with Katie Johnson

Name: Katie Johnson
Age: 19
Nickname: KTJ
Club: Papatoetoe
Reside: West Auckland
Occupation: University student
Playing role: Batter
Batting style: RH opener
Bowling style: RH medium

What was you first cricket experience?
Probably in a pram, or on my bike watching my sister play cricket for Baradene College, or Auckland.

Batter, batsman or batswoman?

Who was your cricket idol/hero growing up? 
For me there is no one else but Don Bradman - an average of 99.94 runs still unbeaten to this day. My father had a video about him and would show me shots he played in several books he owned. I thought he was a gutsy player who also had flare, beautiful timing of the ball and well respected by all.

What advice would you have for a young girl wanting to give cricket a go?
To have an open mind, this game is not something you will learn overnight. It takes a lot of time, effort, commitment and courage. The key word would be patience, as I have learnt. It took me seven years to make contact with the ball without getting out, and it took me much longer to become confident in my fielding. Even sometimes today my heart still races when I’m fielding.

How difficult is it to find a balance between cricket commitments and holding down a “real” job?
Well, I can’t comment on what it’s like with a “real job” but when it came to school sometimes events had to be sacrificed in order for new opportunities to be available.

Which provincial ground/association is the most special?
I have to say Lincoln University, and its three grounds, are just amazing. When I first played there I was star struck, it took me a while to get my head out of the clouds. Bert Sutcliffe is just unreal, never thought I would ever play on a ground where so much effort and dedication has been put in. For me, what is really interesting is when you go in the corridor of the pavilion and there are photos of some of New Zealand’s best players. I have a huge respect for the long history it carries. Legends walked on the same ground as I did. For me it was an honour and a privilege.

Also my other favourite place is Papatoetoe Cricket grounds as the club puts in a lot of time into making sure we have a decent grass wicket to play on. The atmosphere there is great as the other sports like rugby and hockey also surround the grounds so when we’re playing the public is always watching. The new centre and pavilion caters for all needs whether it be  the gym, conference room, indoor nets and changing rooms - not forgetting the bar.

Who is your playing equivalent in the men’s domestic game (past or present)?
I haven’t got a clue - I couldn’t say.

Which opponent would you consider your most difficult opponent to play against? 
Canterbury. They are always well prepared and they never give up. Their teams have a lot of experience throughout all areas of the game and they seem to never panic.

Did you play in boy’s teams as a youngster? When did you move into girl’s/women’s sides?
Yes I did. I played in the Holy Cross Primary School team in Henderson. Even though the team that I was in was great, I wasn’t any good - I was quite useless and every time I got out I would cry - I was a real sooky. When I was about 10 or 11 I moved to Parnell Cricket Club and joined the Parnell Girls Under 14 side which had awesome coaches like the two Rods. Not so long after I went into high school and joined the Baradene 1st XI team which had a good old coach, Steve Temm. He is a guy who has always been so supportive of me. I really appreciate all his efforts and encouragement.

What’s your best/funniest cricketing story? 
My father has told me this story so many times, but when I was about three he took me to Eden Park to watch my sister receive her Auckland cap at a New Zealand Women’s match against Australia. We stayed to watch the match; New Zealand was bowling and after an hour it wasn’t looking too good. Anyway, the next over my father said, under his breath, “God they’re bowling rubbish.” After the next ball I stood up on my seat and yelled out to the New Zealand Women’s team and said “you’re bowling rubbish!” My father gasped and went all red. The New Zealand team and crowd looked at me with the strangest looks. Whenever I bowl a wide or get hit for four my father yells out and says, “you’re bowling rubbish!” He never lets me forget.

What’s one thing about you that most people wouldn’t know (or would find surprising)?
Ever since I was little I loved to watch old Broadway movies like “Singing in the rain” and “Sound of music”. My favourite programmes are Blackadder, M.A.S.H, Frasier, Vicar of Dibley, Billy T Live and the most recent Mrs Brown’s boys. With these influences as a child it led me to taking drama as a subject; I loved it and ended up creating a script which combines the stories of M.A.S.H together in a real live performance. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to perform it but I still wish to. I love to perform and devise scenes or scripts - that’s something I would love to do as a job (drama teacher).

For a full set of Northern Spirit profiles and my views on the women’s domestic game, have a read of A Spirited conversation with the Northern Spirit.

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